MANILA, Philippines - Actor-director Cesar Montano mourned the death of his mentor Marilou Diaz-Abaya, who succumbed to cardio-pulmonary arrest on Monday night after years of battling breast cancer.
In his official statement sent to ABS-CBN News, Montano described Abaya as a "rare gem" in the industry who will always be remembered.
"This is a very, very sad day for us and the movie industry. We lost not only a dear friend and family but also a rare gem in the industry," Montano said.
"Direk Marilou fought a good fight. She will always be remembered for all her contribution in the industry, and the excellence by which she rendered all those. She will always be an inspiration," the actor added.
Mantano is known as one of Diaz-Abaya's favorite actors, having starred in her award-winning movies "Muro-Ami," "Jose Rizal" and "Bagong Buwan."
Montano's wife, Sunshine Cruz via Twitter also remembered the veteran film director.
"RIP to our ninang, Direk Marilou Diaz Abaya. We will truly miss you direk..:( This is really sad but we know you are in a better place now," Cruz said.